Generate ideas. Drop the moorings and go in search of new seas.
Search for and accept strange, even unviable ideas as a natural process. Listen to the ideas of others. Explore new places and eagerly embrace idea diversity. Mix ideas, quickly and furiously, imagining scenarios for them.
A good way to have a good idea
is to have lots of them, as advocated by Linus Pauling. A working group with 4 or 5 people can get quickly to 15 or 20 ideas, but design techniques allow the same group to generate 80 to 100 more diverse ideas in the same period of time. The vast majority of them will be weak and impractical, but they are a necessary step towards those interesting ideas that are further from the ordinary.
Innovative ideas do not come from the most obvious sources.
It is usually the personas whose needs are less common and more specific, with more exotic problems, that allow us to explore unchartered territory.
When focusing on 99% of the situations related to a given problem we are in the company of all those who went before us in search of ideas. Looking at the extreme cases, where there is apparently no effectiveness or feasibility, may seem harder, but it is in fact the best source of innovation. The next step is being able to apply the idea attained by looking at just 1% of the situations to the more general and viable cases.
In our professional lives almost everyone has participated in numerous brainstorming meetings. And yet, few of them live up to the name.
A good brainstorming that really generates ideas needs preparation, method, diversity in the team, and an experienced facilitator. Just like learning to swim, it is something that requires not only study, but practice. And just like swimming, it can save you in difficult situations.
A truly good brainstorming session is a very intense meeting with high levels of concentration and effort, and it’s so exhausting for the team that it rarely lasts more than 45 minutes to 1 hour. It is however deeply rewarding – there is undeniable pleasure in getting new ideas with the potential to break into new territory.